Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen Born To Lorca Cohen, Rufus Wainwright, and Jorn Weisbrodt

Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen: The Official Announcement1

Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen was born February 2, 2011, weighing 8.3 pounds.

The official public announcement was published at the Rufus Wainwright web site by Rufus and his fiancé Jorn:

Darling daughter Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen was born on February 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California to proud parents Lorca Cohen, Rufus Wainwright and Deputy Dad Jorn Weisbrodt. The little angel is evidently healthy, presumably happy and certainly very very beautiful.

Daddy #1 would like to offer everyone a digital cigar and welcome the little lady in with a French phrase from his favorite folk song, A La Claire Fontaine : “Il y a longtemps que je t’aime, jamais je ne t’oublierai.”

Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen: The Background

Suzanne Elrod with Lorca & Adam Cohen

Lorca Cohen

Viva’s  mother is 36 year old Lorca Cohen,2 the daughter of Leonard Cohen (who named her after the poet, Federico Garcia Lorca)  and Suzanne Elrod and the brother of singer-songwriter Adam Cohen.3 She has worked as a chef and now owns an antique shop in Los Angeles. She has also been the photographer for many of the images published of her father, his musicians, and friends.

Leonard Cohen with his daughter Lorca (Photo by Neal Preston, 1995)

Leonard Cohen:

I loved him [Lorca] as a kid; I named my daughter Lorca, so you can see this is not a casual figure in my life.

Rufus Wainwright And Jorn Weisbrodt

Rufus Wainwright, Viva’s biological father,  is a 37 year old singer-songwriter who began touring at age 13 and has become increasingly popular over the past decade.  Rufus came out as gay during his teenage years; he and and Jorn Weisbrodt have been partners for five years.

Rufus Wainwright (R) and Jorn Weisbrodt at the American Ballet Theatre 2009 Fall Gala, Lincoln Center (2009)

Rufus was born into an extraordinarily musical family.  His parent are folk singers Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III.  Rufus was, in fact, the focus of two of Loudon Wainwright’s best known songs, “Rufus is a Tit Man” and the “A Father And A Son.” His sister, Martha Wainwright, is also a singer-songwriter.

The Wainwright – Cohen Connection

Rufus is a long-time friend of Lorca and Leonard Cohen. An April 1, 1994 Rolling Stone article about Melissa Auf der Maur, the bassist for Hole, noted that she, “Rufus Wainwright, and Leonard Cohen’s daughter, Lorca,” were “childhood friends.”  Rufus and Lorca have other friends, as shown in this photo from the 1990s.

Left to Right: Gwyneth Paltrow, Rufus Wainwright, Lorca Cohen. Photo by Thairin Smothers

Coincidentally, Rufus Wainwright Quotes Leonard Cohen On Parenthood was posted almost exactly one year ago:

One time I was hanging out with Leonard Cohen and his daughter [Lorca Cohen]. She was talking about this child she had known as a baby who she hadn’t seen for a few years and how he was now grown up, and she said to her dad: ‘You know, it’s pretty amazing watching how the baby became a person.’ Leonard looked at her and replied very dryly, as only he could: ‘You know, it’s pretty much the only amazing thing there is.’” [Laughs loudly] It’s clearly not a necessity for everyone, but I feel, you know, I shouldn’t deny myself all that ­amazement…

Rufus also described  his first encounter with Leonard Cohen:

I constantly feel that [starstruck] around Leonard Cohen. I’m quite good friends with his daugther. Every time I see him, I’m always nervous. He has an incredible magnetism, his whole aura and persona. The first time I met him, he was in his underwear. Not skimpy underwear, but he had a shirt on and his boxer shorts. He was feeding a little bird, a little bird that he’d found that had fallen out of the nest, and he was giving it little sausages. Biting up the little pieces of sausage, and, like, regurgitating it, like a mother bird would.


  1. Yes, given Heck Of A Guy’s orientation, it is amazing that this post is not headlined “Leonard Cohen And Loudon Wainwright III Become Proud Grandfathers Simultaneously – What Are The Odds?”  I have, in fact, avoided this story for over a month.  Rather than continuing to respond individually to ongoing emailed questions about Viva’s birth, however, I am summarizing the basic information in this post. []
  2. Lorca Cohen was initially identified as the surrogate mother. This characterization was based on newspaper reports which were erroneous.  For details, see Lorca Cohen Is Mother, Not Surrogate Of Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen []
  3. Viva is Leonard Cohen’s second grandchild. Adam has a son, Cassius, who was four years old February 10th. []

11 responses to “Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen Born To Lorca Cohen, Rufus Wainwright, and Jorn Weisbrodt

  1. I absolutely think that this baby girl will be so loved and so amazing …what an amazing musical mix of genetic material . I love the whole story .. I feel that it’s the ultimate love story … xx

  2. You did well waiting for the official announcement and not taking part in the disturbing kind of hysteria that some embraced so happily that it made one suspect their longing for gossip material. So, thank you for a factual report without any personal comment.
    These past few weeks, all those strangers to the family who felt the obligation to speculate, get ready to buy baby gear, provide their own moral estimation of the whole affair and give advice to the parents have really been too much.
    Sorry to ramble on, but I needed to get that off my chest and clearly demonstrate how proud I am of you :)

  3. Finally… a real photo of the real Lorca. I hope to see a photo of the three or four of them. Either will be fine. This is a beautiful event for everyone. Thanks for this article, Alan.

  4. Thanks for this story, but why call Lorca a “surrogate” mother? She is surely the biological mother, unless there is something more to this story than is being said. A surrogate is someone who carries baby to term on behalf of someone else who is/will be the parent of the child. As far as I know, Lorca is the mother of this baby.

    • The grammar of contemporary gender politics is awkward. My understanding is that the parents of the baby are Rufus Wainwright and his partner, Jorn Weisbrodt. Several news stories have described that arrangement. The opening paragraph of the Feb 19, 2011 Vancouver Sun story Rufus is a dad … and Leonard Cohen a granddad is typical:

      Rufus Wainwright announced yesterday that he and his fiance, Jorn Weisbrodt, welcomed a baby girl via surrogate. The surrogate was Lorca Cohen, daughter of Leonard Cohen.

      Update 5:02 PM (EST), February 20, 2011: I have been informed by Lorca’s father, Leonard Cohen, that the newspaper stories identifying Lorca as a surrogate are erroneousness and that the child will indeed be raised by Lorca. Heck Of A Guy apologizes for the mistake. For details, see Lorca Cohen Is Mother, Not Surrogate Of Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen

      • I love this: “The grammar of contemporary gender politics is awkward.” … but in naming all three as parents, I think all concerned have struck a wonderful blow for openness and made words like ‘surrogate’ redundant! I wish them all well!

  5. I am simply happy! Babies make me happy! A little daughter for Lorca makes me happy, and a grandbaby for Leonard also makes me happy! I know…simplistic…but it’s BABY! It’s a new life in this complex world, and somehow babies bring us back to the beginning of all things.

    Many hugs and kisses to little Viva Kate, her parents, extended family…and grandpa ;)

  6. Melissa Latimer

    Blessings to all!
    Thank you for the story.

  7. Am I the only one who thinks that the blond in the last picture does not like Gwyneth Paltrow?

    Oh, and blessings to Viva, mothers, fathers, grandparents, surrogates, etc’ everewhere

  8. Such awesome news! I am so excited for Rufus, Jorn and Lorca, Congratulations!!!! Miss Viva is already such a lucky little girl to be born in to this amazingly beautiful family, she is sure to be loved to the ends of the earth as she is raised and nurtured in such a wonderful, musical, magical family. I am very much looking forward to seeing how her life unfolds. She will go far, Welcome to this beautiful world little one, you are loved!

  9. Can you imagine the beautiful lullabies Viva will hear?